PBS affiliates across the nation have scheduled a wide array of holiday programming for all ages: “Arthur’s Perfect Christmas,” “A Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a cappella,” “Hanukkah Lights 2015,” “Curious George “A Very Monkey Christmas,” “RPO’s Gala Holiday Pops 2014,” “The American St. Nick,” “Itzhak Perlman’s Chanukah Radio Party,” “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas,” “Live from Hochstein: A Cup of Good Cheer,” “RENÉE FLEMING – Christmas in New York,” “Candles Burning Brightly, Advent Voices,” “Christmas with Madrigalia 2015,” “Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra: Messiah,” “A Rose in Winter: A Garden of Medieval and Renaissance Music for the Nativity,” “A Chanticleer Christmas,” “Hollywood Holiday,” “St. Olaf Christmas Festival and much more starting with the first of December through the end of the year.
One of the many highlights of PBS holiday programming on affiliate stations and streaming is the St. Olaf Christmas Festival .The St. Olaf Christmas Festival is one of the oldest Christmas musical celebrations in the United States. It was started in 1912 by F. Melius Christiansen, founder of the St. Olaf College Music Department. The festival features more than 500 student musicians who are members of five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra. Participating choral ensembles include: the St. Olaf Choir, conducted by Anton Armstrong ’78; Viking Chorus and Chapel Choir, both conducted by Mark Stover ’01; Cantorei, conducted by James Bobb; and Manitou Singers, conducted by Therees Hibbard. Steven Amundson conducts the St. Olaf Orchestra. Each group performs individually and collectively in a mass ensemble. This festival is regularly broadcast nationwide on public television and radio.
The St. Olaf Christmas in Norway is another outstanding holiday program on PBS stations. This concert features the 75-voice St. Olaf Choir from St. Olaf College and the Norwegian girl choir, Nidaros Jentekor. The production combines a cathedral’s spare gothic beauty and stunning acoustics with the distinctive a cappella singing style for which the St. Olaf Choir is known. Musical selections include innovative arrangements of the following: “The Word Was God,” “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming/The Rose,” Gospel spirituals, as well as beloved Norwegian hymns and folk songs. Beautiful, young voices in Christmas musical productions fittingly convey the purity, innocence, and hope of the season.
At this holiday season, Americans and those around the world can hear and see the most exquisite musical productions inspired by the Advent and beautiful celebrations of God coming to man incarnate as a baby to become the Word made flesh. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) He came that we might have an Abundant Life. (John10:10) May we each experience fully and deeply the Blessings of Christmas.